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Dunloskin Wood, platforms and charcoal production area

A Scheduled Monument in Cowal, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9689 / 55°58'8"N

Longitude: -4.9447 / 4°56'40"W

OS Eastings: 216322

OS Northings: 679018

OS Grid: NS163790

Mapcode National: GBR 04.WZ10

Mapcode Global: WH2M7.07NH

Entry Name: Dunloskin Wood, platforms and charcoal production area

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1976

Last Amended: 16 August 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3894

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: iron and steel; Secular: platform

Location: Dunoon and Kilmun

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Cowal

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument comprises the extensive remains of a charcoal production area likely to date to the 18th or 19th century AD but which may have earlier origins. It is visible as a group of circular platforms cut into the hillside. The monument is located  among ancient woodland and modern coniferous forestry on the northeast-facing slopes of Dunloskin Wood at between 50m and 100m above sea level.

Forty circular platforms have been recorded on the hillside. Many of the platforms are cut into the hillslope and these display slight rear and front scarps creating a relatively level platform. The platforms vary in size from 5.2m in diameter to 10m by 8.5m. At one of the platforms archaeological investigation recovered material dating to the Neolithic period.

The scheduled area comprises three polygons - an irregular polygon, a clipped circle and circle on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area specifically excludes the above-ground remains of all modern boundary features, interpretation signage and the top 300mm of access tracks to allow for their continued maintenance. The monument was first scheduled in 1976 but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular, charcoal production as part of the industrial process of smelting iron. The remains of this area of charcoal production survive to a marked degree with forty individual platforms recorded in an area of surviving ancient woodland. The origin of at least one of the platforms as a Neolithic house site, demonstrates that this site may have origins in pre-history with several periods of reuse, and adds considerably to the monument's significance. The overall archaeological footprint of the monument is intact and there is high potential for survival of the accumulated remains of activities taking place here. The spaces in between the platforms are equally important as they are likely to contain archaeological deposits indicating the ways in which this woodland was managed and the charcoal produced and subsequently moved. It therefore has significant potential to help us understand more about the management of timber from woodlands, as a key component of iron smelting and the contribution it made to industrial expansion in Scotland. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand a key element of Scotland's industrial past and changes to the rural landscape during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/canmore.html CANMORE IDs:

40748 (parent record).

40731; 40734-6; 75346; 347359; 347360; 347599; 347600-36 (unit records).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference: WOSAS PIN 5326

Supplementary bibliography:

Ellis, C, Forthcoming, A Mesolithic lithic scatter and five platforms, Loch Doilean, Sunart, Lochaber in, Archaeological Reports Online (www.archaeologyreportsonline.com)

Rennie, E B, 1997, The Recessed Platforms of Argyll, Bute and Inverness. BAR British Series No. 253. Oxford. Tempus Reparatum

Robertson, J G, 2008, Iron and Timber: The Story of Iron Smelting and its Influence on the Historic Woodlands of Argyll. A feasibility Study for Forestry Commission Scotland. =circulated typescript report.

Smout, T C, 2009, Exploring Environmental History. Selected Essays. Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press.

Suddaby, I, 2013, Overhead line, Dunloskin Wood, Dunoon, Argyll & Bute. Archaeological Mitigation Works. Report No. 2160. Musselburgh. CFA Archaeology Ltd.

Canmore

https://canmore.org.uk/site/40748/

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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